It’s not as if she didn’t expect the heavy limbs, the deadening of her body. These things happened every winter, as soon as the sun disappeared and the ice took hold. She kept a countdown of the days, checking them off one by one until they started getting long enough to get her home before dark. She slept with the lights on if necessary, determined to use any method she could to beat back the oppression of early night. Every day she survived took her one day closer to when spring would finally return.
Archive for the ‘Not so true’ Category
She did not ask for the perfect light. It just settled there, at the edge of the horizon, changing slightly minute by minute. She soaked it in that entire hour, letting it fill her with its pink and orange radiance.
Sometime, she thought, she would be in total darkness, and this reservoir would sustain her. Sometime, she thought, she would need to drink from it until morning.
Night falls on this fallow land, and we make minor-keyed music on instruments built from recycled parts. Outside, a dog barks, inconsolable in the cold and dark. He settles down only after a passerby lobs a rock into his yard. It lands with a thud near his head. He knows better than to say more, then.
This was not the future we expected. We light wood with scavenged matches. We huddle in the flickering firelight, telling stories of the world we once knew. We each have lost someone who could not put shoulder to this dark wheel.
I asked you to be honest with me, he said. I asked you to be true.
I was true, she said, but she understood why he thought she wasn’t. She talked in her sleep of things that had not happened but sounded so very, very real.
I love you, he said. I don’t know why you can’t adhere.
She wanted to stick to him, wanted so badly to do so. But she felt herself ripping away, one hand lifted, the other barely hanging on. Her dreams, they were so much more real than he was.
He made her a playlist for her journey. This should keep your ears happy, he said.
He thought it better to tell her that than what he really wanted to tell her, which was that he was going to miss both her earlobes, and the way the skin right there was so soft, and that he was going to miss saying things only she could hear.
He imagined her in her window seat, her earbuds tucked into place. He imagined her hearing the music in place of his voice.
We’re all on the way to somewhere, she said. We just don’t always know what it’s going to look like. The scary stuff is all we imagine down the road.
She said this to me as I wrapped my arms around myself. She said this to me as I contemplated turning back around.
It’s not really so bad, she said. Just look in front of you—that next step is totally familiar. So, take it. Then take the next. And the next. Don’t think ahead more than that. This is about one choice at a time.
She could hear hammer on metal far away, and imagined it bending hot steel to shape, sparks flying down around the forgers’ feet. She wondered if she, herself, could be shaped into something more beautiful, one stroke at a time; if each pounding by life’s circumstances could make her as delicately strong as an iron spiral.
The hammer sound stopped, then. She wished she had recorded it so she could play it back, as a reminder, on bleak days. She wanted to hold its rhythm as close as a shield to protect from the most punishing situations.